Lap-Band Frequently Asked Questions
How much weight will I lose?
Weight-loss results vary from patient to patient, and the amount of weight you lose depends on several things. The LAP-BAND® System needs to be in the right position, and you need to be committed to your new lifestyle and healthy eating habits.
Can the band be removed?
Although the LAP-BAND® System is not meant to be removed, it can be. Physicians report that the stomach generally returns to its original shape once the band is removed. After the removal, though, you may soon go back up to your original weight.
Will I feel hungry or deprived with the LAP-BAND® System?
The LAP-BAND® System makes you eat less and feel full in two ways – first by reducing the capacity of your stomach and second by increasing the time it takes food to get through the digestive system. After a small meal, the amount of which varies from person to person, you should feel full. If you follow the nutrition guidelines when you choose your food and then chew it well, you should not feel hungry or deprived. Remember that the LAP-BAND® is a tool to help you change your eating habits.
Does the LAP-BAND® System limit any physical activity?
The LAP-BAND® System does not hamper physical activity including aerobics, stretching and strenuous exercise.
How is the band adjusted?
Adjustments are performed without surgery, using a thin needle to inject or withdraw saline from the band via the access port. They can be done in an office setting or can be carried out in the X-ray department under flouroscopy. When X-rays are used, your reproductive organs should be shielded. Sometimes most adjustments take 10 to 15 minutes and patients say they are nearly painless.
Do I have to be careful with the access port underneath my skin?
After a successful procedure, you will not have any activity restrictions based on the access port. It is placed under the skin in the abdominal wall, and once the incisions have healed the access port should not cause discomfort or limit any physical exercise. The only sensation you may experience from the port occurs when you go in for adjustments.
Is it true that the LAP-BAND® System seems tighter in the morning?
This is a fairly common feeling, especially for patients with bands that are tight to begin with to facilitate maximum weight loss, or for patients who have just had an adjustment. During the day the water content in the body changes, causing the band to feel tighter some of the time. Some women have also noticed that the LAP-BAND® System feels tighter during menstruation.
What will happen if I become ill?
One of the major advantages of the LAP-BAND® System is that it can be adjusted. If your illness requires you to eat more, the band can be loosened by removing saline from it. When you have recovered from your illness and want to lose weight again, the band can be tightened by increasing the amount of saline. If the band cannot be loosened enough, it may have to be removed.
What about pregnancy?
Becoming pregnant can be easier as you lose weight. Your menstrual cycle may become more regular. If you need to eat more while you are pregnant, the band can be loosened. After pregnancy, the band may be made tighter again and you can resume losing weight.
Can I eat anything in moderation?
You may eat most foods that don’t cause you discomfort. However, because you can only eat a little at any given time, it is important to include foods rich in important vitamins and nutrients—foods such as those recommended by your physician and/or dietitian. If you eat foods that contain lots of sugar and fat or drink liquids full of empty calories, such as milkshakes, the effect of the LAP-BAND® System may be greatly reduced or even cancelled.
Will I need to take vitamin supplements?
You may. It’s possible to not get enough vitamins from three small meals a day. At your regular check-ups, your physician will evaluate whether you are getting enough vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron.
What about taking medication?
You should be able to take prescribed medication, though you may need to (1) use capsules or (2) break big tablets in half or dissolve them in water so they do not get stuck in the stoma and make you sick. Always ask the doctor who prescribes the drugs about this. Your physician may tell you to avoid taking aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers because they may irritate the stomach. The problems these drugs may cause could result in band removal.
What about alcohol?
Alcohol has a high number of calories and breaks down vitamins so it is not recommended as a healthy food choice. However, an occasional glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage is not necessarily considered harmful to weight loss.
Does the LAP-BAND® System require frequent visits to my doctor after the procedure?
Check-ups are a normal and very important part of the LAP-BAND® System follow-up.
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